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The Pale King
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The Pale King
Edition: Unabridged
Creators: David Foster Wallace, Robert Petkoff
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Imprint: Hachette Book Group
Pub. date: 04/01/2011
Lib. SRP: 84.99 USD
Ret. SRP: 84.99 USD
Format: OverDrive WMA Audiobook
ISBN: 9781609417338
DRM Level: Windows Media DRM
Min. Version: OverDrive app 1.0 / 1.0 (Windows Mobile)
File size: 277230 KB
Duration: 19:17:11
Languages:
   English
Subjects:
   Fiction, Literature
Awards:
  Best Audio Books (Library Journal), Pulitzer Prize Finalist (Columbia University)
Short Description:
   

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions—questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society—through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and...

Full Description:
   

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions—questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society—through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.

Reviews:
  Publisher's Weekly
     

March 14, 2011
A pile of sketches, minor developments, preludes to events that never happen (or only happen in passing, off the page), and get-to-know-your-characters background info that would have been condensed or chopped had Wallace lived to finish it, this isn’t the era-defining monumental work we’ve all been waiting for since Infinite Jest altered the landscape of American fiction. (To be fair, how many of those sorts of books can one person be expected to write?) It is, however, one hell of a document and a valiant tribute to the late Wallace, being, as it is, a transfixing and hyper-literate descent into relentless, inescapable despair and soul-negating boredom. --The story ostensibly follows several recruits as they arrive at an IRS processing center in Peoria, Ill., in May 1985. Among them is David Foster Wallace, 20 years old and suffering “severe/disfiguring” acne. Everyone he encounters at the Peoria REC (Regional Examination Center; Wallace elevates acronyms and bureaucratic triple-speak to an art) is a grotesque: socially maladjusted, fantasizing of death (a training officer keeps a gun in her purse and “has promised herself a bullet in the roof of her mouth after her 1,500th training presentation”), and possessors of traumatic backstories. One recruit watches his father’s death by subway car; another survives an adolescence of sustained and varied sexual abuse only to witness her mother’s murder; another sweats constantly and so heavily that he dampens those unfortunate enough to be near him. These are the recruits training to become “wigglers,” low-level IRS drones who crank out rote tax return reviews at Tingle tables (no etymology given) in the regional IRS office, calculating return-on-investment for potential audits and resigning themselves to a lifetime of tedium in an office where time is ticked off in fiscal quarters. They are only slightly aware of one another and exist as cameos outside of their own chapters. Meanwhile, a nebulous and menacing bureaucratic intrigue is afoot with the arrival of “fact psychic” Claude Sylvanshine, who is in Peoria to do advance work and intelligence gathering for his boss, Merle Lehrl, “an administrator of administrators” and dark puppet-master figure.--That’s the structure. Wedged in are snapshots, character sketches, and anecdotes. There’s a bombing at another IRS office, a mass poisoning, the specter of culture shift in the form of the “Spackman Initiative,” a messy bureaucratic hangover spurred by a backlog-induced meltdown at another IRS office.--Stretches of this are nothing short of sublime-the first two chapters are a real put-the-reader-on-notice charging bull blitz, and the David Foster Wallace sections (you’ll not be surprised to hear that these are footnoted) are tiny masterpieces of that whole self-aware po-mo thing of his that’s so heavily imitated. Then there are the one-offs—a deadening 50-page excursion to a wiggler happy hour, a former stoner’s lengthy and tedious recollection of his stony past—but this is a novel of boredom we’re talking about, and, so, yes, some of it is quite boring. And while it’s hard not to wince at each of the many mentions of suicide, Wallace is often achingly funny; a passage that begins “I have only one real story about shit. But it’s a doozy” and ends with a “prison-type gang-type sexual assault gone wrong” is pants-pissingly hilarious.--Of course, this is an unfinished novel. It’s sloppy at times, inconsistent in others, baggy here, too-lean there, and...

  AudioFile Magazine
      This posthumous work from the acclaimed author David Foster Wallace was put together from notes and computer files Wallace had been working on for a decade. It's not really a novel but a collection of stories; snippets; profiles; deliberately dull tax codes; and overly detailed stories about nose-picking, "squeezing shoes," mind games, and the confusion of being alive. Having to deliver some sentences containing more than 250 words and multiple clauses upon clauses, narrator Robert Petkoff is challenged to keep the work alive. The main story, ostensibly about the soul-crushing job of an IRS accountant, is beautifully told but gets lost among the many unrelated pieces in this lengthy book. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
Creator Marketing:
  David Foster Wallace     
     

David Foster Wallace (1962–2008) is the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, and Girl With Curious Hair. His essays and stories have appeared in Harper's, the New Yorker, Playboy, Paris Review, Conjunctions, Premiere, Tennis, The Missouri Review, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Wallace has received numerous awards, including the Whiting Award, the Lannan Award for Fiction, the QPB Joe Savago New Voices Award, and the O. Henry Award.

  Robert Petkoff     
     

Robert Petkoff has appeared on Chappelle's Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime. He lives with his wife in New York City.

OverDrive WMA Audiobook (OAB) Rights:
  Burning to disk not permitted
  Transfer permitted to compatible devices (3 times)
     Transfer to iPod®/Apple® device permitted
  Public performance not permitted
  File sharing not permitted
  Peer-to-peer usage not permitted
Geographic Rights:
   Canada, United States
Retailer(s):
   null
 
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